Gradient Yarn with Kool-Aid

gradient yarn

Last month, I got the urge to dye yarn. I didn’t have any bare skeins hanging around, but I did remember I had pieces of a white wool sweater in my closet. Waaay back in 2010, I thrifted a large white wool sweater. It had the perfect seams to unraveling, so I took it apart almost immediately. …Then we bought a house and moved. It got trapped in a box of random crafty shit and I just forgot about it for a year. Last year, I dyed one of the sleeves and then last month I finally dyed the other.

I like sleeve dyeing because it makes me feel like I have more control over where the dye goes. Last year, I used these directions from craftystylish, but this time I wanted to try something different.

I wanted a gradient/ombre look, so I thought about how people get that with shirts by putting small parts of the fabric in at a time. Would it work? YES! I probably made it a little more difficult than it needed to be, but I was working with what I had–2 packs of pineapple Kool-Aid and 1 pack of cherry.

I started by putting my sleeve in a bowl of water with a splash of vinegar. I made sure it was completely saturated, then I put it in the microwave for a minute to temper it. While it was heating up, I mixed the 2 packs of pineapple with 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water and put it in a pot to heat up. I pulled my bowl out of the microwave and lifted the sleeve out (over the bowl, because it was dripping), gently squeezing a bit of the excess water out. I was able to handle it with my bare hands, but use caution if it feels too hot to you.

I started by dipping about 6-8 inches, counting to ten and dipping another 6 inches. I could see a lot of the dye getting absorbed pretty quickly and by the time I got to the last bit, there was hardly any yellow coming off my liquid. I quickly mixed the pack of cherry and 2 cups of water and then lifted my sleeve over the pot, mixed in the cherry and started dipping again. by the time I got to the top, the water was pink. Yay!

I let it sit in the warming water for a few quick minutes (no boiling!) and then I rinsed it with hot water, slowly getting the temperature down. When I could handle it, I put a dash of baby shampoo in to get any excess dye out. After it was done, I rolled it up in a towel and squeezed out most of the water, then let it hang in front of a fan for a few hours. Once dry, I went about the arduous task of unraveling and getting this yarn into a skein, which entailed ANOTHER bath (once unraveled). It was all worth it, as it looked so pretty wound into a ball.

y2

I had various shades of coral and pink throughout. I was afraid the mix would be too orange, but it came out so lovely!

y1

yarncake

It took another week or two for me to finally knit something out of it, but here it is! A basic knit hat. The yarn was pretty chunky, so I was able to make a 60-st hat in a day.

gradienthat

It was big enough for me to tuck my hair into.

Do you like to dye your own yarn? Have you ever tried dyeing a sweater sleeve then re-purposing the yarn into something else? I’ve dyed with Kool-Aid before, but this is the first time I’ve actually tried to get the colors to look a certain way.

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